'BCCI is working on all options to ensure IPL is held this year' - Sourav Ganguly
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is sticking with its plans to conduct the cash-rich IPL tournament this year despite the worsening coronavirus situation, according to the board president Sourav Ganguly.
The world's most lucrative T20 competition, originally set to commence at the end of March, was indefinitely postponed in April due to the extension of the lockdown period.
To ensure the IPL is not headed for its first wipeout in the 12-year history, Ganguly said in an email to state associations that the board was committed to holding the Indian Premier League even without spectators.
"The BCCI is working on all possible options to ensure that we are able to stage the IPL this year, even if it means playing the tournament in empty stadiums," Ganguly wrote in the letter.
"The fans, franchisees, players, broadcasters, sponsors and all other stakeholders are keenly looking forward to the possibility of IPL being hosted this year."
Players from India and abroad have "have also shown their keenness on being a part of this year's IPL", he added.
"We are optimistic and the BCCI will shortly decide on the future course of action on this."
The likes of Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes have expressed their interest in taking part in some form of the IPL, although there is a lingering uncertainty regarding the availability of a free window to stage the tournament.
The BCCI was reportedly eyeing replacing the T20 World Cup with the IPL if the showpiece global event is postponed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
However, the ICC has not yet declared a final decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had earlier told AFP that the board would lose a revenue upwards of $500 million in case of a cancellation of the 2020 edition of the IPL.
The league has wide-ranging effects on the Indian economy as it generally pumps more than $11 billion into the country's GDP.